Lincolnshire County Council votes to raise council tax

Martin Hill

Lincolnshire County Council voted last week to rise its portion of the council tax bill by 3.95 per cent - with two per cent going to adult social care.

The county says this increase will generate additional income of around £9.8m which will contribute to the funding shortfall the council is facing from decreasing government grants and additional costs, particularly from adult care.

As well as the increase in council tax, the council will also be using almost £18m of reserves, as well as £39m of savings the council has agreed.

Leader of Lincolnshire County Council Martin Hill (Con) said: “For this next financial year, our general government grant has reduced to £48m from £70m this year.

“We are also facing around £26m of increased costs, including nearly £7m from the care needs of an ageing population, around £5m from the national living wage increase.

“To meet this budget shortfall, we have used some of our reserves, and balanced this with finding further savings. We have had to cut services and these are difficult decisions, but we know that we will be facing further challenges balancing our budgets in future years, and we must do the responsible thing today.

“By 2020, our government grant will have reduced by more than 90 per cent in less than a decade, and our main source of income will be council tax. However, we will continue to lobby the government for fairer funding – especially to meet more of the costs of adult care- rather than expecting local people to foot the bill.

“Despite this harsh financial backdrop, I am proud of what we have achieved as a council recently in finding new and innovative ways to deliver and improve our services. 93% of primary school age children now attend a school judged good or outstanding; we have had national recognition for our re-commissioning of home care services; to support economic development, we’ve completed Teal Park, the Holbeach Technology Park and Sutton Bridge Marina; and we’ve also been recognised as one of the top two highways authorities in the country, attracting significant extra funding to fill potholes.”

The county council’s element of the council tax increase equates to £44.59 per year for a Band D property (approximately 86p per week).

Lincolnshire’s decision follows a similar move by Rutland County Council to agree its portion of the bill Rutland residents pay by 3.99 per cent with two per cent going to adult social care.

Leicestershire Police and Crime Commissioner Lord Willy Bach has already announced a 1.99 per cent increase in the police’s portion of the bill to increase the visibility of officers on the streets, while Lincolnshire’s commissioner Marc Jones has announced a 1.97 per cent rise.

South Kesteven District Council was due to meet yesterday to set its budget and is looking at increasing the tax, which would mean an extra £5 a year for the average Band D property.

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